The Marginalian
The Marginalian

The Mother of All Demos

Today always has a certain arrogance towards yesterday — each generation likes to credit itself with the invention of, well, everything that matters. But certain things — personal computing, social networking, digital collaboration — are surely the product of our contemporary era, right? Wrong.

On December 9, 1968, Dr. Douglas C. Engelbart of the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute staged what’s been dubbed “the mother of all demos” — a 90-minute public multimedia demonstration that debuted personal and interactive computing to the world.

It was the cultural grand entrance of many of the technologies we use today: the computer mouse, hypertext linking, real-time text editing, multiple windows with flexible view control, screenshare teleconferencing.

Cure your presentism bias with a look at the full 1968 demo and catch Dr. Engelbart’s talk at Google Authors, where he delves into 57 years worth of his fascinating work on social networking systems.

Published August 6, 2009




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